Dietitians Day — 19 September 2019

Celebrate Dedicated Accredited Practising Dietitians

Join us in celebrating the many Dedicated Dietitians going above and beyond on Dietitians Day!

Dietitians Day is an opportunity to recognise the dedication many Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) working in Australia and abroad are demonstrating through their inspiring work building healthier communities through better nutrition.

Are you a DAA member? Visit the Dietitians Day Member page here.

Dedicated Dietitians

We asked our members to nominate Dedicated Dietitians for recognition on Dietitians Day 2019. Meet the 2019 Dedicated Dietitians here!

A Day in the Life of a Dietitian

Have you ever wondered what a dietitian does? To celebrate the many diverse practice areas of dietetics, we’ve reached out to our members to tell us exactly what they get up to in a typical day!

From working in the media through to clinical nutrition, you’ll be able to learn more about what it means to be a dietitian.

Keep an eye out for more being shared in the lead up to Dietitians Day 2019!

A Day in the Life of a Private Practice Dietitian with Tom Scully

Tom Scully is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) working in eating disorders and mental health at The Geelong Clinic as well as running his own private practice focusing on IBS, men’s health and LGBTIQ+ health. Learn all about a typical day in his life below.

Tom is also the coordinator of DAA’s new LGBTIQ+ Discussion Group! Join today on Member Connect via the Quick Links on your Member Dashboard.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Tom…

I’m a queer cisgender male dietitian. My pronouns are he/him. I live in Geelong in Victoria with my partner, our dog, and a couple of chickens. I’m originally from Melbourne but decided to move last year to have a bit more space and be closer to the ocean. Dietetics is a second career for me. I previously worked in the hospitality industry for around 10 years spending most of that time as a cocktail bartender.

How long have you been an APD?

I’ve been working as a dietitian for 4 years.

What is your current role/practice area?

I work at The Geelong Clinic, a mental health hospital, in the eating disorders programs and with general inpatients. I also have my own private practice, Reconnect Nutrition, with a focus on IBS, men’s health, and LGBTIQ+ health. I have recently started volunteering with DAA as the coordinator for the new LGBTIQ+ Discussion Group.

What is a typical day in your role? 

My day varies depending on where I am. At the Geelong Clinic, it generally involves overseeing a ‘shop and cook’ with the eating disorder patients. We plan meals and snacks, shop for ingredients, then cook and eat them together. It’s also likely to involve running nutrition education groups for the patients in the eating disorders programs, the addictive behaviours program, or on food and mood for general patients.

In private practice, a typical day involves seeing clients. This might be face to face in the clinic, online through video conferencing, or occasionally a home visit. It’s also likely to include updating doctors or other healthcare providers about our shared clients’ progress and business admin tasks like responding to new referrals and inquiries, scheduling appointments, marketing, or bookkeeping. On quieter days, I put some time aside to complete training courses, read research in my areas of interest, or work on other projects e.g. workshops, talks, etc.

How did you get to where you are now? 

It was really a combination of things and a little bit of luck. Having a great mentor (thanks Lou!) helped get me started. Networking with people who were doing similar work to what I wanted to do opened up opportunities. And spotting a bit of a gap that I was in the right place at the right time to fill — working with the LGBTIQ+ community.

What do you love about being an APD?

Working with people both one on one and in groups. It’s a privilege to be able to hold space for people while they explore their relationship with food and (hopefully) start to approach their eating with a little more kindness and self-compassion.

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

Three things I wish other dietitians knew about working with the LGBTIQ+ community:

  • We all have biases. We’re products of the environment we grew up in and live in. If we aren’t aware of them and how they show up in our interactions with others they can do harm.
  • Prejudice and discrimination can affect the physical and mental health of LGBTIQ+ individuals and their ability to participate in health-promoting behaviours.
  • Knowing how to provide culturally competent care to the LGBTIQ+ community is important for all dietitians. If you’d like to know more about what this looks like join us in the LGBTIQ+ Discussion Group in Member Connect!

Keep up with Tom Scully online — follow him on Twitter.

A Day in the Life of Clinical Dietitian with Dr Varitha Kinghorn

Meet Dr Varitha Kinghorn, the first person to be recognised outside of the USA as a Nutrition Care Process (NCP) Global Trainer by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! Dr Varitha Kinghorn is a Dedicated Dietitian, working in a range of roles in clinical nutrition. Read more below.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Varitha…

I love food and developed an interest in nutrition at a young age when caring for my grandmother when she had a stroke. Growing up in Thailand twenty years ago, the pathway to becoming a dietitian was not well-trodden. After moving to Australia and completing my first Master’s degree in food science, I worked as a food scientist in research and product development. Despite loving the R&D role, my passion lay elsewhere. I decided a career change and found my way back to Nutrition & Dietetics.

After completing second Master’s degree in Dietetics in Australia, I started my career as a senior dietitian in Thailand at the Bumrungrad International Hospital, before returning to Australia to work at various organisations in Queensland and eventually finding my home in Tasmania. I am currently a senior clinical dietitian working for the Tasmanian Health Service based at Launceston General Hospital.

In addition to my day-to-day role, I am recognised as Nutrition Care Process (NCP) Global Trainer by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA), the world’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals.

How long have you been an APD?

I am coming up to my tenth year as an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD).

What is your current role?

  • Senior clinical dietitian, Launceston General Hospital, Tasmania
  • Nutrition Care Process (NCP) Global Trainer, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA)
  • Lecturer, School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia
  • Sessional lecturer, College of Health and Medicine, University of Tasmania
  • Sessional lecturer, Institute of Nutrition, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Chairperson, DAA Engagement and Development Committee (TAS Branch)
  • Consultant, 2020 Scientific and Social Program Committee, 37th DAA National Conference, Melbourne
  • Member of International Advisory Committee focusing on Introducing the Comprehensive Application of the NCP (I-CAN), The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (USA)
  • Member of Nutrition Care Process and Research Outcomes (NCPRO) Committee,
    The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics (USA)

What is a typical day in your role? 

My day at the hospital usually starts at 8am by collaboratively planning and prioritising patients’ care and other important activities to ensure urgent tasks get done first. Late morning, I attend multidisciplinary team meetings to collaborate and ensure patients’ medical treatment, nutritional management, and discharge goals are aligned and optimal. I re-visit my workload plan again around midday to check progress and strategically revise my plan if needed. I also include quality improvement activity as part of the workload to ensure continuous advancement of my practice.

After my day is finished at the hospital, I begin a face-to-face NCP teaching session and sharing my expertise with international dietitians through Edith Cowan University’s online education program.  As an NCP Global Trainer, I sometimes travel to facilitate NCP workshops for multiple health organisations, hospitals, and universities in Australia and overseas. I spend the last hours of my day on committees’ volunteering work to contribute back to the profession and communities.

Sometimes on an extraordinary day, I start the day at 4am attending NCP virtual training for a couple of hours with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA). This enhances my knowledge and skills as an NCP Global Trainer and enabling me to share the most up-to-date information with colleagues, mentees and students.

How did you get to where you are now? 

I always give 100% to what I love and do my best. As a clinical dietitian, I believe patients should receive the “Gold Standard” care from me. Hence, I implemented the evidence-based clinical framework, “Nutrition Care Process (NCP)”, in my practice to ensure I address patients’ nutrition-related problems more specifically. Even though I already do things at my best, I continuously improve it daily.

I never say no to opportunities aligning with my interest despite the challenges. For instance, when Edith Cowan University’s research team noticed my expertise and offered a scholarship to do a PhD in NCP, I gave it a go. Or when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA) observed my innovative research and invited me to be part of the international committee, I took the opportunity.

I am fortunate to practice in a supportive environment where my department manager, Tracey Denmen, and the director of Allied Health Service, Cindy Hollings, are understanding and enabling my career growth.

What do you love about being an APD? 

What I love most about being an APD is helping and making differences to other people’s health through better nutrition. I love getting to know people from a different culture and their amazing story through food. I believe food brings people together and builds communities. I love working with like-minded professionals towards the shared goal of healthy Australian communities. Being able to share my knowledge and expertise with other dietitians and inspire emerging dietitians for the future dietetic profession are where my passion lay. I am always proud to be an APD.

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  1. Regardless of your area of practice – clinical, private practice, community, public health, or academia – “Nutrition Care Process (NCP)” framework can help support your critical thinking, systematically address nutrition-related problems, deliver consistent nutrition care, enhance nutrition outcomes, and promote collaboration and communication among a multidisciplinary team.
  2. As a clinical dietitian, we are more than just a nutrition advisor. We can make an impact and influence people’s lives and wellbeing. Together, we can empower people to build healthier communities.
  3. Sometimes it is hard to make a massive change in your practice. However, if you continuously make a little change every day, this will eventually become a massive change.

Keep up with Varitha Kinghorn on Instagram or Twitter.

A Day in the Life of a Public Health Dietitian with Emily Fitt

Emily Fitt is an Emerging Dietitian currently working as a Project Officer at Nutrition Australia, which includes consulting, working in public health and with the food industry. Learn more about her typical day below…

Tell us a bit about yourself, Emily…  

I have been a dietitian for four years and have had experience in a range of areas including clinical, community, private practice, food industry and public health. I absolutely love food and everything that comes with it! I also love being a dietitian and the position we are in to make such a positive influence on people’s lives.

 How long have you been an APD?

Four years

What is your current role?

I am a Project Officer at Nutrition Australia. My role is in public health, food industry and consulting.

What is a typical day in your role?  

There is absolutely no typical day for me! Currently, I support all hospitals, universities and workplaces in Victoria to implement the Victorian Healthy Choices guidelines. On any given day I could be talking to food industry about the classification of their products, talking to a hospital’s CEO and advocating that they implement the guidelines or supporting large retailers to implement the guidelines.

How did you get to where you are now?

I actually started my career in clinical. After two years I realised I wanted to focus more on preventative health. I love knowing that the work I do, can make big change and promote a healthier lifestyle to a large number of people

What do you love about being an APD?  

I am so proud to be a dietitian. I know so many people who admire the way dietitians talk about food and actually love food. We are in such a great position to inspire and support those who need it when it comes to nutrition. I also love that nutrition is such a broad field and that our dietetic skills can take us anywhere!

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  • We can work in such different roles not just supporting one to one clients
  • We actually love food and we don’t judge others for what they eat
  • We are more than just helping people lose weight

Keep up with Emily Fitt on Instagram.

A Day in the Life of a Food Industry Dietitian with Carena Gee

Meet Carena Gee, an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with 7 years’ experience working in the food industry. From product development and factory site visits through to food tasting, learn more about the important role APDs play in the food industry below!

Tell us a bit about yourself, Carena…

Born and bred in Melbourne. Like many dietitians and nutritionists, I love food and being active, spending much of my spare time with friends and family, trying new restaurants and cafes or being active whether it’s running, cycling or gym classes.

I also love travelling, ticking off 32 countries in Europe – with still a long worldwide list to go!

How long have you been an APD?

7 years

What is your current role/practice area?

Senior Dietitian/Nutritionist in Food Industry

What is a typical day in your role?  

A difficult question as the days can vary quite a lot! Anything from:

  • Providing marketing teams with nutrition insights and trends, including the latest evidence or updates from peak health and government bodies;
  • Developing new concepts and products with product development & commercial teams, including expertise on how nutrition targets can be achieved;
  • Reviewing artwork and promotional materials to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements for nutrition information and claims;
  • Working with the design & culinary teams to develop communication materials such as nutrition flyers and recipe booklets;
  • Presenting to key stakeholders in the business on the company’s progress towards our nutrition & health goals; including our ambition to nutritionally improve100, 000 tonnes of Simplot products by 2023;
  • Visiting factory sites or attending industry/professional conferences;
  • One of my favourite parts – tasting and evaluating new food products J

How did you get to where you are now?

Towards the end of high school, I discovered there was a profession that could combine my passions of food and health, which led me to down the path of dietetics.

I studied a Bachelor of Nutrition & Dietetics, I really enjoyed the nutrition regulatory lectures and was excited by the idea of working in food industry; though towards the end of my degree there were many clinical jobs arising, so I naturally thought that’s the area I would work in.

However, I kept my mind open to all avenues of dietetic work and I was very fortunate to be successful for a new graduate Company Dietitian role at Jenny Craig and started two weeks after our final university submissions!

From there my passion for food industry continued to grow and I pursued opportunities that would support my personal growth and align with my career goal of working in a role that is dynamic and challenging.

This saw me moving into a health promotion and public health role at Nutrition Australia that engaged with major food companies and then a food industry role at Simplot Australia. I have learnt so much along this journey so far and have met many incredible and inspiring dietitians and nutritionists along the way.

What do you love about being an APD?  

I love how diverse the profession is. There aren’t many careers where you can do one focused university degree and come out with the ability to work in hospitals, NGO’s, sports, industry, health promotion, regulatory, policy, food service – the list just goes on!

I also love that as APDs we can help people work through all the confusing nutrition messages that they’re faced with day to day and can empower individuals to own their own health.

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  • The impact that working in the food industry can have on population health. Food industry dietitians have the ability to make small changes that have a big impact. For example, every Australian household pantry contains at least one Simplot product, so if we can nutritionally improve a product by reducing sugar, salt or saturated fat or increasing vegetable content, protein or fibre levels; then we are positively changing what Australians are eating.
  • Supermarkets make up 80% of food purchases in Australia and with time pressures and stress of modern-day life, consumers are relying on quick & easy food solutions more than ever. The time is ripe for dietitians and nutritionists to work with industry to improve these food offerings.
  • The misconception that working in the food industry is ‘working for the dark side’! Yes, there is the challenge of balancing nutrition priorities with the commercial environment, but today many food companies and big players have strategic plans around improving their food offering and are a lot more receptive to the important role nutrition plays in food.

Keep up with Carena Gee online — follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Consultant Dietitian with Nicole Senior

Nicole Senior is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with more than 25 years’ experience. From nutrition consulting which includes, public speaking, media appearances and recipe development through to her side hustle of supporting the emerging edible insect industry, learn about the life of a Freelance Consultant Dietitian below!

Tell us a bit about yourself, Nicole…  

I live in Parramatta, Western Sydney with my husband and son. I’m actively involved in my local community, including being on the P&C for my son’s school and on the volunteer committee of our local park and garden. The past two soccer seasons I’ve coached my son’s team. I sing in a choir called River City Voices which I very much enjoy. It’s good for the soul but the classical repertoire also challenges me. I’m happiest in active recreation outside but I also love to cook, talk and entertain.

How long have you been an APD?

I’ve been a dietitian since 1993; that’s 26 years, and I’ve been an APD since the program’s inception.

What is your current role/practice area?

I work as a freelance nutrition consultant, mostly in communications. Most of my projects involve writing, although I also do speaking, media presenting, recipe development and more. My business provides services to the food sector, government and NGOs (non-government organisations). My ‘side hustle’ is Bug Me Entomophagy Nutrition Consulting in which I provide services to Australia’s emerging edible insect industry. Insects are surprisingly nutritious, delicious and sustainable foods; watch this space!

What is a typical day in your role?

I’m a sole trader so I do everything involved in running my business as well as producing the output for clients. My typical day includes reviewing new nutrition research and food news and sharing items to social media, doing writing work for clients (for example, health professional newsletters, web copy), DAA Interest Group tasks, managing emails and business administration. Some days I’ll take a few photos of something delicious or interesting and post them on Instagram or get out-and-about for a meeting or CPD event.

How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve worked in a variety of roles throughout my career including clinical, health promotion, public health, private practice, in an NGO and in a food company before branching out on my own. I was Nutrition Editor for a national food magazine for almost ten years and this sharpened my writing skills. I also undertook additional study in marketing and public relations. Over the past ten years I’ve pursued a strong interest in food and the environment, and I was thrilled to recently manage a health professional education project about sustainable seafood for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. I would love to do more work on food sustainability.

What do you love about being an APD? 

I wanted to be a dietitian since high school, and I’ve been very happy with my choice ever since. It’s a career with many options to suit different interests and aptitudes and allows variety throughout your career. I love the combination of science, psychology, sociology, gastronomy, culinary arts, marketing, communication, agriculture and environmental science it involves as well as the potential to make a positive impact on people, society and the planet. I love the idea of sharing what I know, creating solutions and advocating for positive change.

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

Dietitians working in the food sector know a lot about food, where it comes from and how it gets to our plate.

Working with the food industry can create a big impact, both for public health and food sustainability.

Being self-employed is challenging but rewarding and allows flexibility to balance work and family.

Keep up with Nicole Senior on Instagram or Twitter.

A Day in the Life of an Oncology Dietitian with Darcy Jongebloed

Meet Darcy Jongebloed, new graduate Accredited Practising Dietitian working at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. From realising she may not belong on NCIS as a criminology expert through to working at Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, you can learn about Darcy’s journey to Oncology Dietitian below.

Tell us a bit about yourself, Darcy…  

I am an enthusiastic new graduate dietitian with a special passion for oncology nutrition. I graduated from Deakin University in 2018, after completing an undergraduate degree at Victoria University in Nutritional Therapy. I am lucky enough to be working in one of the leading cancer treatment hospitals in the world, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Outside of Dietetics I love eating, cooking, travelling, pretending I’m a good snowboarder and being a top-notch dog mum to my puppy, Yuki.

How long have you been an APD?

Just over a year now, how time flies when you’re having fun!

What is your current role/practice area?

I am a full-time clinical Dietitian at Peter Mac. I work mainly with people who have blood cancers (also known as haematology) and who are getting stem cell transplants as treatment.

What does a typical day in your role look like?

First things first, always a morning coffee! Once I get to work, I sit at my computer and look to see what patients are to be seen that day and prioritise the day. My day could be very varied as I see patients in many areas of the hospital. In one day, I might be on the wards discussing nutrition during treatment with patients and families, in an outpatient clinic reviewing a patient who has completed treatment or is yet to commence treatment, in the chemotherapy day unit discussing nutrition during chemo, and speaking to patients over the phone about their nutrition needs.

When you combine this with meetings, writing notes, speaking and working with to any of the many members of the fabulous team (e.g. dietitians, allied health, doctors, nurses, food service and many more), responding to emails, attending presentations, lunch and more, it makes for an incredibly interesting, rewarding and challenging job!

How did you get to where you are now?  

I started off studying criminology out of high school but when I quickly discovered that I wasn’t going to be the next member of NCIS I decided to chase a different passion – a passion for eating, cooking, talking about and learning about FOOD!

I completed a 3-year undergraduate degree, took a year off to travel (Europe and Japan!! Woohoo) and then completed a master’s degree in Dietetics. After completing my first degree I was fortunate to get a position working with Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food Australia, where I taught people from diverse walks of life how to cook healthy, simple food from scratch aiming to get people back in the kitchen! My youngest participant was 12 and the oldest was 90 and I had everything in between.

While studying Dietetics, I realised on my placement that Oncology was where I felt I best fit as a dietitian and working with this special group of patients I was really passionate about. I was determined to get my dream job at Peter Mac, however, I was actually unsuccessful on my first job interview! Instead, I worked in the kitchen in the hospital and learnt so much about the food service system in a busy public hospital, on the second attempt I was successful, and have been working here in my dream job since the start of the year.

What do you love about being an APD?  

Talking about food all day, myth busting nutrition misconceptions, helping people remove unnecessary food rules, fears or restrictions and working as part of an awesome team, both of other dietitians but also the extended team!

One of my favourite things is giving practical ideas of how to make dietary changes that will fit into the individual person’s life, no cookie cutter meal plans with me. I think my past-life as a cooking teacher definitely comes in handy on a daily basis!

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  1. A cancer diagnosis can often bring up many dietary questions for both patients and loved ones, Dr Google and the internet can confuse even the most educated person. Encourage anyone going through treatment to reach out to an Accredited Practicing Dietitian for evidence-based advice.
  2. Malnutrition is the biggest concern for patients during treatment! Often eating can become very hard for patients and even having a small meal or drink can be a huge win and a huge effort!
  3. Working with cancer patients is the most rewarding job. Although some days are tough, there is a lot of hope, and every day my patient’s courage inspires me to live life to the fullest and continue to develop into the best oncology Dietitian I can be.

A Day in the Life of a Media Dietitian with Brooke Delfino

Meet Brooke Delfino (née Longfield), Accredited Practising Dietitian and Editor of Healthy Food Guide Australia!

Tell us a bit about yourself, Brooke…
I became a dietitian because I love food and I love people. It’s as simple as that really. I think food brings people together and is one of the most enjoyable things in life. Most of my favourite memories revolve around food, and for me, it’s the best part about travelling to a new country – trying new foods!

Unfortunately, lots of people are confused about what to eat. They’ve lost confidence in knowing what is good for their body. I want to clear the confusion, help people improve their relationship with food, and offer solutions for those who can’t eat certain foods for health reasons.

How long have you been an APD?

8 years

What is your current role?

Editor of Healthy Food Guide magazine

Tell us about a typical day in your role

Every day is so different, but it always involves lots of reading and writing – which I love, thankfully! I plan all of the content that goes in every issue, commission recipes and story features, attend food photo shoots, write articles, read and edit articles, conduct radio interviews, browse the supermarket for new products, attend media/PR events, hold idea brainstorming sessions, liaise with advertisers and research overseas food trends – and that can literally be all in one day!

My favourite part of my role is that I get to be creative in coming up with new ways to translate nutrition messages. This might be a new story angle, a fun infographic, or a delicious, healthy recipe. Oh and we get to taste all of the food we shoot! The hardest part of my role is always thinking ahead and managing relationships with advertisers.

How did you get to where you are now? 

I picked up my first copy of Healthy Food Guide when I was studying dietetics. I loved the magazine, devouring page after page, soaking up the easy-to-read language, and the friendly, yet authoritative tone. Straight out of Uni I worked in a clinical role at a hospital. I loved the work but was frustrated at not being able to really cut through to my patients as the nutrition information was often provided in the form of a generic fact sheet. I learnt a lot from the magazine about the language to use when speaking to my patients. In 2013 I saw a part-time dietitian role going at Healthy Food Guide. It was my dream job! I landed the role, and six years later I’m still here and am now working full-time as the editor. I was lucky to be mentored and supported by some of the best in the business.

What do you love about being an APD? 

I love how many different areas there are to work in, each of them important in making a difference to how people eat. I really believe there is no better time to be a dietitian, as the public is more confused than ever about how to eat, and we are the experts that have the answers.

I also love that every day we are learning more and more about the effects different foods have on our bodies. Fifteen years ago, hardly anyone was talking about gut health and mood, and now we have some really amazing research suggesting a strong link – confirming what many of us might have already thought. It’s exciting!

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  • Magazines aren’t as glamorous as they sound! Tight deadlines mean that you need to be really organised, stay calm under pressure and have the ability to multi-task. We work about three months ahead, so currently I’m signing off on our November issue, commissioning and shooting food for our December issue and planning our Jan, Feb and March 2020 issues. Phew!
  • Practice makes perfect. Lots of dietitians want to write for magazines or work in media, and my advice would be to do as much practice as you can. Start a blog and practice writing short, snappy articles with really good headlines!
  • TV and radio aren’t as scary as you think. Your first interview is ALWAYS going to be the worst. But, again, practice makes perfect. Loosen up and have some fun with it, because you don’t want to come across stiff, boring and unrelatable. Remember, you are the nutrition expert.

Keep up with Brooke Delfino on Instagram or follow Healthy Food Guide Australia on Facebook or Instagram.

Meet Simone Austin, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Advanced Sports Dietitian. Simone details her wide and varying role from working with the Hawthorn Football Club through to her own private practice consulting.

A Day in the Life of a Sports Dietitian with Simone Austin

Tell us a bit about yourself, Simone…   

I have a passion for food, health and sport! I combine all of these in my job as an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Advanced Sports Dietitian. I work in a variety of areas of dietetics from sports nutrition in elite sport at the AFL team Hawthorn, to food industry consulting, private practice, I’m an author of Eat Like An Athlete, I work in the media, present at events and I am president of Sports Dietitians Australia.

How long have you been an APD?

I have been an Accredited Practising Dietitian for 25 years.

What is your current role/practice area?

  • Sports Dietitian at Hawthorn AFL Football Club for the last 11 years
  • Dietitian at Swisse Wellness writing about health and nutrition and involved in staff health and wellbeing activities
  • Consult in private practice
  • Guest speaker at sporting clubs, workplaces, conferences and run wellness events in corporate workplaces
  • President of Sports Dietitians Australia
  • Rokeby Farms – consultant dietitian to the company who make delicious dairy products
  • Media Spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Media – TV advertorials, the guest on chat shows and radio, expert comments for magazines and online, social media, blogging

What does a typical day in your life look like?

Each day is different but typical to that day…

Mondays – I’m at Hawthorn Football Club, doing body composition measurements (skinfolds) for players, one on one chats, in the kitchen cooking with players, organising interstate foods, discussing safe use of sports supplements. I then most days have some work to do for my voluntary role at SDA and will put up an Instagram post. Might even take a few food pics during the day.

Tuesdays – I work at Swisse Wellness office – writing blogs, putting together nutrition information for events, talking at events (internal or external) and recording podcasts on nutrition.

Wednesdays – Ranges from visiting clients for nutritional needs in Aged Care facilities, presenting nutrition sessions at various workplaces, presentations for the community at libraries, sporting groups or last year I was writing my book – Eat Like An Athlete.

Thursdays – A mix of accounts, book work, social media post writing, blogs, writing nutrition articles for Rokeby Farms where I have a consultancy role or helping plan health professional education on the product for the website, flyers or events. I also fit in a meeting with the CEO for my voluntary role as President of Sports Dietitians Australia and maybe an interview for media spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. I could have an interview pop up at short notice on any day for this role.

Fridays – My private practice days until around 1.30pm. Then it is some letters back to GPs.

Saturdays – could be going to a Hawthorn Football Club game to help out on match day if we play in Melbourne. I also usually catch up on some invoices, planning for upcoming talks and presentations.

How did you get to where you are now?

Lots of hard work – I worked at two community health centres taking opportunities early to step up e.g. straight out of university I took a Grade 2 Community Health role and learnt as I went. I then started some private practice and consulted to my first professional team, the Western Bulldogs, only one year out of university.

Volunteering at a lower level prior to this gave me skills, experience and contacts I needed for the next step. I ask others, surround myself with good people. I made contacts and was recommended for sports positions. One led to another and I haven’t applied for an advertised job as such since my first job at university. My work has come from meeting people, others recommending me for positions. At one stage I was consulting to four different elite sporting codes at once – AFL, Rugby League, Rugby Union and Soccer!

I have always been interested in public health and my book I feel helps get the health message out there to more people using a positive health message about performing at your best, just like athletes do. I love presenting and that is where my career is heading more now, guest speaking.

What do you love about being an APD?

I love people and I get to spend time with so many different people from all walks of life. I love food, health and sport and I can combine all of these. Being an APD means I can also work in so many different industries, so I never get bored! There is always something new to strive for.

What are three things you wish people knew about your area of practice?

  1. We can all use the principles of sports nutrition to help us perform at our best – not just elite athletes
  2. Dietitians don’t ‘put you on diets’
  3. Sports Dietitians are not just for elite athletes, no matter what your level is dietitians can help you achieve your best in your sport

Keep up with Simone Austin online — follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or visit her website.

How can you support Dietitians Day?

Download the Stakeholder Social Media Toolkit

We’ve put together a social media toolkit with a variety of materials for you to use on your own channels. This toolkit includes a series of social media tiles and banners, prepared posts and tweets and a signature block.

We’d love to see you join in the celebrations by sharing these posts on Dietitians Day!

Be sure to like, comment and share Dietitians Day social media posts, and get involved in all the action by following the #DietitiansDay and #DedicatedDietitians.

Looking to connect with your local Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD)?

APDs can help you make the right decision about what to eat and can personalise an eating plan that’s right for you. Importantly, they can support and motivate you to make healthy dietary changes for life. APDs can be found across the country, working in a range of practice settings.

To connect with an APD near you, visit our ‘Find an Accredited Practising Dietitian’ webpage.